Barnegat Lighthouse State Park


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Every October the NJ Lighthouse Society runs the Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey in order to raise funds for the state’s historic lighthouses and maritime sites. This year, we purchased an incomplete commemorative deck of cards at our starting point and then tried to complete the deck by collecting cards at each of the participating locations. There were 13 sites included in the challenge this year and I got to 5 of them on the Saturday of the challenge.


After visiting Absecon in Atlantic City and then Tuckerton Seaport, I headed out to the northern end of Long Beach Island and Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. This historic lighthouse is a sister to the Cape May and Absecon lights and is similar in design.


In 1835 a 40-foot-tall lighthouse was erected in this spot, but its small stature and non-flashing light was inadequate. In 1859, ‘Old Barney’ replaced this older light, which had fallen into the sea.


Jetties have been built around the lighthouse to prevent the further erosion of the island. There were several people fishing from the jetty when I was there.


When completed, Barnegat Light stood 172 feet above sea level, four times taller than the original. The new light was a first-order flashing Fresnel lens.


The light became obsolete and was deactivated  in January 1944 and given to the State of New Jersey. The Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, a local non-profit organization, campaigned to reactivate the lighthouse.


A new, more modern light was installed and was lit on Barnegat Light’s 150th anniversary in 2009. It now shines daily from dusk until dawn. The original Fresnel lens is on display at the Barnegat Light museum around the corner.


After going to the adjacent visitor center, I climbed the 217 steps to the top of the lighthouse and was treated to spectacular views of nearby Island Beach State Park and the more commercial Long Beach Island.


Lighthouse Challenge and related posts:


Location: 208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006

Designation: State Park, NRHP

Date designated or established: 1957 (State Park), 1/25/1971 (NRHP)

Date of my visit: 10/20/2018